Video Games: A Contemporary Scapegoat

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From character to character, the brutal kills range from ripping out spines to slicing the opponents straight in half to chopping off foe's arms. They were all just obeying the thunderous voice rumbling, "Finish him!" This is Mortal Kombat – one of, if not the, most popular fighting game franchises ever created. At its conception in 1992, it was hit with a hard wall of controversy for its heavy use of gore and the general fear it would influence children to reenact these so-called “fatalities” in real life. Ever since the 1970s, man was finally able to interact with the screen, creating a universe written in ones and zeros. However, does the screen speak back to us, and cause effects outside of the console? Though video games have widely been blamed by the media for motivating violence, they do not in fact cause violence, but instead serve as just another media platform under scrutiny as many mediums before them. Games have miniscule, possibly even absent, scientific evidence for causing violence. Even though games do cause some aggression in laboratory studies, it is the same aggression that comes with any other competition, such as sports (Jayson). Whether the game in question is a frustrating Mario level or a difficult Grand Theft Auto mission, the aggression is not caused by the content. This is also a case of causation vs. correlation – do violent games cause violent people, or do violent people just choose violent games? Certainly, it’s the latter. If an individual is already obsessed with, say, rape, he or she will pursue media on that subject. In reality, the rate of school shootings has actually dropped since 1994, while the popularity of video games has exploded (Gerdes). Also, the results inside a laboratory do not alwa... ... middle of paper ... .... Print. "Seung-Hui Cho Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2013. Simpson, Kevin, and Jason Blevins. "Did Harris Preview Massacre on 'Doom?"" The Denver Post Online. Denver Post, 4 May 1999. Web. 15 Sept. 2013. Stashower, David. "On First Looking into Chapman's Holden: Speculations on a Murder." The American Scholar:. Phi Beta Kappa, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. Steinberg, Michelle, and Anton Chaitkin. "Virginia Tech Killer Was Another Video-Game Fanatic." Virginia Tech Killer Was Another Video-Game Fanatic. Executive Intelligence Review, 27 Apr. 2007. Web. 15 Sept. 2013. "Video Game Violence: Why do we Like it, and what's it Doing to Us?" NPR All Things Considered (2013): n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 29 Aug. 2013. "Violent Video Games and Young People." Harvard Mental Health Letter (2010): n.p. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 29 Aug. 2013.

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